Livestock

The small holding was started in 1985 as, at the time, a logical progression from my professional study of animal bones from archaeological sites. I hoped the live animals would facilitate my understanding of livestock farming in the past. The farm animals now help the public to understand how dependent our ancestors were on the products of their livestock: traction, dairy products, leather, horn, bone, wool, fertiliser, hair, meat.

Many of the animals are extremely friendly, halter trained and happy to be hand fed by the public. However farm animals are not pets and surplus males are eaten.

Louisa

 

York Rare Breeds Show and Sale 2nd-3rd October 2009

Zanfara Rebekanda: Dexter Breed Champion and Reserve Interbreed Cattle Champion

Zanfara Rebekanda: Dexter Breed Champion and Reserve Interbreed Cattle Champion

Zanfara Rita: Manx Loaghtan Breed Champion

Zanfara Rita: Manx Loaghtan Breed Champion

Meat

There is a growing interest in the health benefits of grass-fed, rather than cereal-fed, beef. Further details can be found on www.dexterbeefonline.co.uk.

Dexter Cattle

dextersThe Zanfara herd was started in 1986 and now averages 10 head. All homebred animals are horned, this is necessary for the historical use of the animals. The Dexter breed is the closest modern equivalent in size to archaeological specimens from the late Iron Age to early Post-Medieval periods. A pair of oxen were kept, who had been broken to the yoke, sadly we no longer have these.

Both the short legged and non short legged types are kept and all three colour variants: black, red and dark dun.

2017 bull hire rates
Baranduin Delta £30 per cow
Rosewood Glenkinchie £25 per cow. 

Delivery and collection at cost, to be paid for at the time.

Baranduin Delta

Rosewood Glenkinchie

"Laurel the Dexter cow fundraising for St Cuthbert's Society men's hockey club trip to play in Prague. It is now more straightforward to obtain a licence to disapply the 6 day standstill for cattle and sheep so that they can attend one day events."

“Laurel the Dexter cow fundraising for St Cuthbert’s Society men’s hockey club trip to play in Prague. It is now more straightforward to obtain a licence to disapply the 6 day standstill for cattle and sheep so that they can attend one day events.”

Manx Loaghtan Sheep

alexanderThis breed is part of the Northern Short Tailed group, which was the standard type of sheep kept in northern England into the early Post Medieval period, and in Scotland until the eighteenth century. This variant survived on the Isle of Man. The term Loaghtan describes the bracken brown colour of the wool. The Zanfara flock was established in 1985 and now averages 40 ewes. The breeding emphasis is on the four horned character and the associated polled variant. Occasional skulls of multi horned sheep are found on archaeological sites from the Roman period onwards. It is unlikely that any historical flock was predominantly four horned. For public display the four horned sheep, particularly the rams, are eye catching.

Wool from the flock has been made into our period costumes and is used for demonstrations of textile crafts, especially drop spindle spinning. Fleece is available annually. Stock are normally available for sale and rams may be hired.

Zanfara Manx Loaghtans January 2010 Photo © Copyright: Fran Randerson

Zanfara Manx Loaghtans January 2010
Photo © Copyright: Fran Randerson

Zanfara Manx Loaghtan and Hebridean wethers joined the Flexigraze conservation scheme in 2009, grazing on Lindisfarne. Meat from a few of these special, slow-grown, wethers is now available from Flexigraze.

Download the Flexigraze flyer (.pdf format)

Hebridean Sheep

This breed is another of the Northern Short Tailed group, but with a black or charcoal grey fleece. The Zanfara flock was started to retain the four horn and polled characters in the breed. Normally only six ewes are kept, with a further six in the associated Aardskaap flock.

Hebridean ram Gladstone Palmerston with ewe and lamb Photo Credit: © P.R.G. Stokes

Hebridean ram Gladstone Palmerston with ewe and lamb
Photo Credit: © P.R.G. Stokes

The Mules

Frances the mule joined the team after various health scares about the public meeting cows and sheep. The mule is traditionally a beast of burden of low status. Mules were used extensively by the Romans. By medieval times, the mule was also seen as a humble and sedate ride for those in Holy Orders. Frances also appears as The Ass in the Nativity at Christmas

Frances being very patient at the Durham Summer Festival

Frances being very patient at the Durham Summer Festival

Frances the mule wearing her Irish peat creels, made by Joe Hogan

Frances the mule wearing her Irish peat creels, made by Joe Hogan

Poultry

 binny012 binny021As a result of the continuing licencing for the short term movement of cattle and sheep, Rent a Peasant can offer the Mule together with Poultry as an optional live animal attraction. From March to October, chicks are hatched in the incubator on a monthly basis, so we usually have some small chicks with cute factor in a basket and growing chicks keen to explore the world of free range. Our own free range eggs and a bird to pluck complete the cycle of the poultry yard. Baby chicks are suitable for indoor venues not feasible for larger stock.

Some of our hens on free range at a Medieval event in Berwick on Tweed, investigating the contents of the leather jack.

Some of our hens on free range at a Medieval event in Berwick on Tweed, investigating the contents of the leather jack.

Fred taking the concept of oven ready chicken rather literally

Fred taking the concept of oven ready chicken rather literally

Comments are closed.